Simple pyrolysis of cobalt alginate fibres into Co3O4/C nano/microstructures for a high-performance lithium ion battery anode†
Cobalt tetroxide (Co3O4) has attracted much attention as a promising anode material for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) owing to its high theoretical capacity (890 mA h g−1). However, its poor electronic conductivity and weak ability to accommodate large volume changes during a repeated charging–discharging process, which results in the poor cycling performance, have hindered the practical application of Co3O4. In this article, Co3O4/C fibres were prepared by simple pyrolysis of wetspun cobalt alginate fibres. The composites were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). It was found that the resulting material possesses a unique hierarchical nano/microstructure in which Co3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) are capsulated in a micro-sized carbonaceous fibrous matrix. This nano/microstructure can combine the merits of the Co3O4 nanostructure and the carbonaceous microfibre matrix, and thus exhibits a high reversible capacity of 780 mA h g−1 at 89 mA g−1 after 100 cycles as well as excellent cycling stability and rate performance when used as an anode material. This finding could open up a new direction in sustainable use of natural seaweed resources as new energy storage materials.